How can the healthcare industry benefit from OCR in 2021?

The medical industry is seeing a paradigm shift towards its approach of getting high efficiency and better service standards for its customers. The tasks previously done by human labour which required a lot of time are slowly being made much easier by introducing automation in the healthcare industry. Services like claims processing in hospitals have already been automated in the past years. In fact, there are several benefits to the automation of the healthcare industry, a few of which have been broadly discussed below.

1. Labour Saving

There are many repetitive tasks even in the medical industry that employs a lot of manpower. This can be reduced by introducing an automated process that handles things efficiently. Therefore allowing the manpower to be invested in higher-order tasks requiring cognitive abilities.

2. Fast

Whenever a process is automated, the process becomes a lot faster than its manual version. This saves a lot of time, increases production capabilities, and ultimately leads to greater profitability.

3. Easy Management

Like every other industry, the medical industry also has complex chain systems where different parties like doctors and patients have to be managed and linked at times of need and a lot more. Using automation in the form of automatic management software the medical institutions get a chance to process all the gathered information and store it in the data centers. This helps the institution to not only manage the patients and doctors but also to also analyze the information collected for further insights.

4. Availability

The information collected as shown in the above point is stored in data centers. This helps the workforce access the information from multiple workstations without incurring any delays. This would not be possible with a pen-paper system.

5. Security

The data centers are exceptional at providing high-quality security to the client data. This ensures that sensitive patient data remains within the confines of the hospital management system.

6. Reduction in errors

Increased automation means reducing the human intervention in all the processes which reduce the number of errors made.

7. Cost reduction

Any process where automation is used becomes faster. This also saves a lot of time and effort to the company and thus reduces the cost of service.

In medical systems, such automation is usually achieved using a technology called Optical Character Recognition (OCR). OCR is an innovative way of directly identifying and capturing data from an unstructured data set. In simple terms, this technology helps professionals to identify the texts directly from a picture. Optical Character Recognition software is mainly implemented in automatically filling up online databases and forms. Given below is a typical workflow setup while using OCR in a hospital document management system.

  • The Optical Character Recognition software is to be installed in the existing hospital document management system. This also involves setting up the software and configuring it specifically for the kind of task the software is supposed to perform.
  • After these documents can be scanned or pictures of them can be uploaded to the system.
  • The data is automatically identified from the scanned documents using the OCR software.
  • Different accuracy checks are placed in the system to ensure correct data is transferred to the different forms. In case the accuracy of the operations is low manual checks are also placed.
  • Several secondary checks are also placed in the document system for increasing the level of accuracy and providing better task management.
  • The data identified through OCR can be sorted and stored in the data centers for future reference.
  • The data can be applied to several forms and other important documents or stored as electronic data interchange files. The hospital systems can also store the original images for clarification in case of rectifying mistakes.

There are a few benefits of OCR systems being used in processing documents.

  • Patient data storage becomes easier, patients need not fill the same form multiple times. The scanned copies of existing certificates can be used for getting the patient data using OCR.
  • Data accessibility is increasing as now, automated document management systems, the patient data is available across multiple branches of the hospital and therefore it helps in providing better service to the patients.
  • As OCR helps in creating better file systems, the overall ability to answer patient queries also increases significantly

While being used in a medical management system a few more ancillary systems can be used along with OCR to store, index, and search through the multiple layers of data for different implementations. An example of such multilayered implementation is automatically processing invoices for providing smarter services like medicine deliveries and others. The whole process of accessing the information from the clients becomes very simple using OCR.

Hospitals and other medical institutions and businesses will find a number of OCR licensed software from developers like Google and other developers. This software is general-purpose and if used along with ancillary systems for data processing can form robust automated document management systems. In some cases, the institutions can also manufacture their own document processing systems using this software.

The tailor-made document managing software is better at handling particular tasks in the institution. Its automation capabilities can be set depending on the quality of documents to be read and the OCR software can be tweaked to scan and recognize different inputs. OCR makes the information a lot more accessible in this system. This allows managers to create appointments, automatically fill in forms and even provide information to the customers if necessary without any delays.

Summing Up

Medical automation provides a chance of creating high-quality output that can be used to gauge the different parameters of the patients and provide accurate insights to doctors which can even be helpful for the treatment of patients. Automation techniques like OCR help in strategizing better processes.

With the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning Optical Character Recognition facilities are becoming much more accurate in recognizing and managing data. In the long run, this helps the medical professionals and industries based on the medical facilities create a robust architecture that prioritizes customers and provides the best services.

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